Three-Month Novel-Writing Course With Nikita Lalwani
With teaching sessions designed for online spaces and flexible scheduling, you can join this course wherever you live, in whatever time you have free.
Nov 12 2018 - Mar 11 2019
This three-month online novel-writing course, led by author Nikita Lalwani, brings together all the ingredients of our successful London-based novel-writing courses to those unable to attend sessions at our offices. We welcome applicants from different countries and timezones – this course is incredibly flexible time-wise and it doesn’t matter how many hours ahead or behind the UK you are.
Nikita Lalwani, author
Nikita Lalwani's first novel Gifted was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and was the winner of the Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction. Her second novel The Village was published in June 2012. Nikita was a judge for the Orwell Prize in 2013. Photograph: Bucy Neech.
Author and prizewinner Nikita Lalwani will give direct feedback to students on their novels-in-progress via weekly online workshops, one-to-one tutorials and writing exercises. The 15 students will be selected from a broader group of applicants on the basis of quality of writing material, as demonstrated in their applications. Each course module will include specially filmed video and teaching notes on an aspect of the novel-writing process from one of our CBC tutor team. Students will access course notes and videos on our online learning platform, where they'll also share their work and take part in forum discussions with Nikita and their peer group.
Our course features live Q&As and advice on pitching with the full Curtis Brown and C+W literary agent teams – something we believe to be unique in the online-learning arena. And the literary agents from both companies will read the openings and one-page synopses from our students at the end of the course.
Our online creative writing courses are all about flexibility, and are ideal for those with busy lives or who are unable to travel to London to attend our courses.
Curtis Brown and C+W have a reputation for launching new writers in a competitive publishing environment, and for developing successful writing careers. And in the seven years since it was established, Curtis Brown Creative has seen many students gain major publishing deals – including now-well-known authors Jessie Burton, Jane Harper, Laura Marshall, Kate Hamer, Lisa Williamson and Nicholas Searle.
We welcome applications from anyone with talent, passion and a strong idea for a novel. Please submit the opening 3,000 words of the novel you want to work on during the course, plus a one-page synopsis giving us a sense of where your novel is heading.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
All our courses are designed, run and taught entirely by Curtis Brown Creative and its team of author-tutors. We have developed a learning platform with our design team exclusively for the use of our students. On this course you'll get, direct from us:
• Participation in weekly writing workshops with Nikita Lalwani and your student peers, taking place in a secure group space, hosted on our Learn platform. Each student will receive two dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress across the course.
• Two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Nikita Lalwani, delivered on the phone or by Skype (depending on student’s choice), and scheduled in consultation with you.
• Weekly teaching sessions on key topics. A range of our popular tutors (see Speakers section and schedule below for details) will offer their in-depth insights on a range of subjects crucial to writing novels through specially filmed teaching videos and notes. Nikita Lalwani will set homework tasks on the teaching topics and lead discussions on the online forum.
• A session to get answers to your questions about writing and publishing from the Curtis Brown and C+W literary-agent teams.
• Students will also get feedback on their elevator pitch from a top UK publisher.
• An opportunity to get feedback from the Curtis Brown and C+W agents on the all-important pitch letter.
• The opportunity to get your 3,000-word opening and synopsis read by the Curtis Brown and C+W book agent teams at the conclusion of the course.
• A secure discussion space to share material and thoughts with your student peer group informally
• Teaching videos, notes and feedback from the course will remain available to participants after course-end
Weekly workshopping of students’ novels
Each week, three students will be asked to submit 3,000-word extracts from their novels-in-progress to a private online discussion space, and will receive comments from the tutor and fellow students. This provides focused feedback and encourages students to develop their capacity to self-edit, to read as writers, and to receive and provide constructive criticism.
Weekly workshop timetable:
Workshop extracts are submitted to the tutor and group on the first Monday of each week.
By Monday, one week later, students must have read the three extracts and submitted a fully annotated version of each text plus feedback.
Following this, the tutor opens up the group workshop discussion, which takes take place across 48 hours.
Each student will receive two dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress.
Students will also submit their synopses for feedback from Nikita.
Weekly teaching sessions
Opening on the first Monday of each week, teaching sessions will cover a range of issues crucial to the writing of novels, such as plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and rewriting. As the course progresses, new video material and teaching notes from the CBC tutors listed below will become available to the students, and form a library of resources. Nikita will set homework tasks for each teaching module - writing exercises or topics to prepare for discussions.
Industry advice sessions
In a special session, students are given the opportunity to put questions to the Curtis Brown and C+W agent teams in the discussion space, and to gain advice on how to navigate the choppy waters of the publishing industry.
In a further session, students will have the opportunity to get feedback on their elevator pitch from Charlotte Cray, commissioning editor at Borough Press.
Curtis Brown and C+W agents will also give feedback to the students on their agent-pitch letters and show them how to bypass the dreaded slush pile.
The sharing of material with the agent teams at the end of the course is informal. The agent teams will get a taste of the students' work and an opportunity to express interest in seeing the completed novel at such time as the student is ready to send it to agents formally. Students are not under any obligation to send their material to the CB and C+W agents.
Each student will receive two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Nikita Lalwani. These will be conducted over the phone or via Skype, and will each be based on 3,000 words from the novel-in-progress, which Nikita will read ahead of time. Students will also be asked to highlight for Nikita any issues they may wish to discuss and put questions to her.
Monday 12 November – Sunday 18 November
Introduction (Anna Davis)
Teaching topic 1: Inspiration and Reading as Writers (Chris Wakling)
Monday 19 November – Sunday 15 November
Teaching topic 2: Openings (Lisa O’Donnell)
Monday 26 November – Sunday 2 December
Teaching topic 3: Writing from Life (Nikita Lalwani)
Monday 3 December – Sunday 9 December
Teaching topic 4: Story, Plotting & Planning (Chris Wakling)
Thursday 6: Pitching session with Charlotte Cray (commissioning editor at Borough Press)
Monday 10 December – Sunday 16 December
Teaching topic 5: Voice and Narrative Point of View (Nikita Lalwani)
Monday 7 January – Sunday 13 January
Teaching topic 6: Characterisation (Suzannah Dunn)
Monday 14 January – Sunday 20 January
Teaching topic 7: Description, Tone & Style (Erin Kelly)
Monday 21 January – Sunday 27 January
Teaching topic 8: Dialogue (Suzannah Dunn)
Monday 28 January– Sunday 3 February
Teaching topic 9: Building Suspense (Erin Kelly)
Monday 4 February – Sunday 10 February
Teaching topic 10: Endings (Lisa O’Donnell)
Monday 11 Feruary– Sunday 17 February
Teaching topic 12: Editing and Rewriting (Jake Arnott)
Monday 18 February – Sunday 24 February
Teaching Topic 11: The Synopsis (Anna Davis)
Briefing on end of course submission to agents (Anna Davis)
The Synopsis (I) – comments on 8 students’ synopses – Nikita
Monday 25 February – Sunday 3 March
The Synopsis (II) – comments on 7 students’ synopses – Nikita
Monday 4 March – Sunday 10 March
Final questions and farewell from tutor
Monday 11 March
Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the Curtis Brown and C+W literary agents.
*Please note, teaching topics and dates are subject to change
The course fee of £1,600 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. Successful applicants who have concerns about being able to pay the fee in full at the start of the course should email CBCcourses@curtisbrown.co.uk.
We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required.